Interesting traditions

From Graven Images:

"The burial procession itself was a spectacle as grand as the Puritans could offer. The horses pulling the coffin were often draped with cloth painted with the "scutcheons" of death, probably winged death's heads, crossed bones, picks and shovels, imps of death, and coffins.....The mourners were equally resplendent. Many of them wore long black "Mourning Cloaks" with large white scarves around their necks, and "good gloves" on their hands. Often gold rings were worn under the gloves....rings still exist. They are sometimes ornamented with coffins, angels, or winged death's head and engraved with names or initials. The funeral procession moved from the meetinghouse where a sermon ws read to the burial grounds where more orations and players were read....While the coffin was still in the meetinghouse, it was usual to be surrounded by six mourning women traditionally garbed in black. After the burial the family conducted an "open house"for freinds where large quantities of food and wine were consumed."

"Before the day of the funeral itself, the rituals of invitation were hard and fixed and certainly symbolic. Gloves were traditionally sent as invitations to funerals....Gold rings were also sent out....they were only distributed to family and close friends. Rings, of course, were traditional at marriages. But the interweaving of rings and gloves and feasts at both rituals leads one to the conclusion that death ws conceived as a spiritual marriage between Christ and the soul,while corporeal marriage was its earthly counterpart."

Wow. Rings. Gloves. Food. Decorations for the horses. Food and Drink for everyone. I love the simple tradition here married with the printed materials and stones that surround this final send off. The Victorians took these trappings to a high baroque level..but the pared back version, to me is far more appealing..and interesting as these traditions were the roots of the insanity that happened a hundred years later.